Charters Beat CPS On NAEP Tests

Here's the #TUDA 2011 data for charter schools in ATL, Baltimore City, Chicago, Houston, Miami-Dade, and Milwaukee, compiled by NAPCS and presented with all the usual caveats regarding selection and demographic differences. Reacting to a Dana Goldstein post about DCPS scores under Michelle Rhee, I complained last week that it seemed strange charters weren't included in TUDA data when they're (a) part of the geographic unit and (b) included in state NAEP data. I argued that in places with lots of charter school kids and a pro-charter superintendent like Rhee or Vallas it makes sense to look at charter scores as well as district scores even though there's no bureaucratic responsibility involved.  Parents certainly don't care whether the schools are charter or not, or even who has official responsibility.  They just want good schools.  What about the other 15 TUDA districts?  It's a sample size problem, we're told, though there's no reason I can think of that data collectors couldn't find a big enough sample in DC charters or New Orleans or LA given how many charter kids are there.  [cross-posted from TWIE]

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  • note that chicago charters don't necessarily outperform charters in other cities like baltimore and atlanta, however.

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    They also are not being compared in meaningful ways. The most comparable group of schools is magnet schools which outperform charters in most places.

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    Agreed. When charters start accepting students only within attendance boundaries and importantly serve the same numbers of students with significant special needs (especially those students with major behavior problems) and are still able to outperform the local neighborhood school, then we'll talk. As is it, magnets are a much better comparison.

  • In relation to the data for Chicago, the table posted indicates charter schools only have an advantage over traditional public schools on the NAEP at grade 4, but not at grade 8. So maybe Alexander a better heading for this post would be "charters beat CPS on NAEP at grade 4."

    Rod Estvan

  • Only grade 4? And this is after they weed out all the kids that are 'hard to teach'? Charter Schools Suck!

  • Also I would add having just looked at the NAEP reading data there is little to cheer about in relation to CPS charter school's average reading scores. At grade 4 the average reading score for charters was 214, overall most charter school students are low income and qualify for either free or reduced lunch. If we look at the urban average reading scores for 4th grade students who are above the poverty line we discover it was 230. If we look at national NAEP reading score averages we discover CPS 4th grade charter students in 2011 were behind national averages where the national average was 221.

    At grade 8 the average reading score for charters was 254. Again if we look at the urban average reading scores for 8th grade students who are above the poverty line we discover it was 273. If we look at national NAEP reading score averages we discover CPS 8th grade charter students in 2011 were behind national averages where the national average was 265.

    Readers of this blog can see this data by going to
    http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2011/

    There is nothing to cheer about in either the CPS charter school data nor the traditional school data. If a CPS student, be they in a charter or a traditional school, is poor they are on average not academically competitive nationally with students who are not poor, let alone wealthy students. Effectively what this data is demonstrating is that existing school reform efforts are not offsetting the competitive advantages students who come from middle class and wealthy families have over poor urban students. The data also shows that urban public schools can work well for students above the poverty line.

    Possibly critical factors in academic achievement need to be addressed by attacking poverty in urban communities and not just trying to fix schools within that context of poverty. Which does not mean we give up trying to make urban schools better, but it does mean that on average promises being made to poor families that if their children work hard these students will be able to compete with the most wealthy students in the nation for seats in selective colleges.

    Rod Estvan

  • The more I think about it, the more I too would like to see charter schools comprise their own "district" and not be hooked up to CPS.

  • Sorry about my last sentence, it should have read: "but it does mean that on average promises being made to poor families, that if their children work hard these students will be able to compete with the most wealthy students in the nation for seats in selective colleges, are effectively promises can not be honored for most poor students."

    I got on a conference call and lost what I was trying to write.

    Rod Estvan

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