Stanford Study Says Minority, Poor Students Benefit Most From Charter Schools

A study released Tuesday by researchers at Stanford University finds that in comparison to other groups minority students and those from poor families benefit the most from charter schools. The report expanded on 2009 findings comparing student performance.

When broken down into groups, the study showed that black students gained the equivalent of 14 days of learning by attending charter schools but that black students living in poverty saw even greater benefits, the equivalent of 29 days in reading and 36 days in math. Hispanic English-language learners saw even higher gains, though Hispanics in general scored similarly to Hispanics in traditional public schools.

White charter school students posted lower growth scores in reading and math than traditional public school peers, the study found. But noting a trend toward specialty charter schools in affluent white communities, the reading and math scores alone may not paint a full picture of the schools' performance, researchers said. Students may have started out above average and showed smaller gains in those subjects while gaining in other areas such as language or arts, they said.

According to Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes Director Margaret Raymond the improvement was boosted by the closure of schools that had been underperforming. 

"The results reveal that the charter school sector is getting better on average and that charter schools are benefiting low-income, disadvantaged and special-education students," CREDO Director Margaret Raymond said.

Researchers did not look into why specific groups benefited more, but charter schools' greater freedom to direct resources toward specific needs was seen as a factor.

CREDO's report, summarized in its press release, called for policymakers to hold charter schools accountable to higher standards while building an evidence base about "what plans, what models, what personnel attributes, and what internal systems provide appropriate signals that lead to high-performing schools." In the meantime, it argues that charter authorizers should continue closing low-performing schools.

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  • Xenocles||

    No! Minorities are supposed to suffer most from anything! God!

  • Almanian!||

    Minorities and women! Let's not forget teh wimmynz!

  • Rich||

    the study showed that black students gained the equivalent of 14 days of learning by attending charter schools

    Emphasis added. WTF?

  • Sidd Finch||

    That's about 0.02 standard deviations.

  • Sidd Finch||

    I don't know why they convert standard deviations into the nonsensical "days of learning."

  • Fatty Bolger||

    No. Shit.

  • Almanian!||

    Unsurprising study result is unsurprising.

    But gratifying to see nonetheless.

  • Brandon||

    But teachers' unions don't benefit from charter schools, and that is what matters. To teachers' unions.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Privatize the whole education system, thanks. This is one area the government has generated a supreme level of incompetence and malfeasance. I mean, at least we actually went to the Moon.

  • NoVAHockey||

    well, it's not a fair comparison, as unlike the traditional schools, the purpose of charter schools is the education of the students

  • ||

    What will the reality-based, science-is-settled community do to suppress this?

  • some guy||

    I don't know. NPR is reporting these same findings. As they go, so goes the open-minded intellectual elite, right?

  • sarcasmic||

    By open-minded you mean their brains have fallen out of their heads, right?

  • BakedPenguin||

    I'm sure they'll give Randi Weingarten all the time she says she needs to "rebut" these findings.

  • Calidissident||

    But American assured me that charter schools only seem good because they keep out minorities?

  • Acosmist||

    That was silly of him to say. They only seem good because they select students; they can skim the cream of minorities too, of course.

  • Warrren||

    No! only the government can...

  • CatoTheElder||

    Now the coalition of special interests that comprises the Democratic Party has yet another reason to oppose charter schools.

    Their electoral success depends upon maintaining a permanent underclass of dependent minorities. Effective educational alternatives could interfere with that.

  • wingnutx||

    The real question is if it is good for the NEA.

  • chorizo||

    Won't somebody please think of the teacher unions!?!

  • Paul.||

    So, Charter schools have positive impact on education, women and minorities hardest hit?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I keep trying to tell you, it's an unfair comparison. Bad charter schools can be closed, so their bad scores won't end up dragging the other charters down. But bad public schools aren't closed, so their bad scores get in the way of a realistic measurement of the awesomeness that is public schooling.

    /sarf

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