Charter schools outperform traditional public schools in urban areas, a study finds.
The study from Stanford University’s
Center for Research on Education Outcomes
bolsters arguments by charter advocates
that in urban areas the schools are a boon, especially to minority and poor students.
"Where regions had schools that enrolled larger shares of these students, the regional results were stronger," the study notes. "This suggests a focused model with continuing success in providing students who are often disenfranchised in local schools better opportunities to grow academically."
Patrick Wolf at the University of Arkansas' Department of Education Reform tells Business Insider
that he's not surprised at the results.
"The charter school sector has gotten to a point of maturity where it's dominated by established charters that have stood the test of time and are operating a lot more efficiently and effectively for kids, and so we're starting to see now this general positive impact of charters on student achievement," he said.
The study, which focused on 41 urban areas in 22 states, found, for example, that 26 regions outpaced traditional schools in math, and that 23 regions had bigger gains than traditional public schools in reading. In 11 regions, the charters had smaller gains than public schools in math; 10 regions saw smaller gains for charters in reading.
According to the study, the results mean students in urban charter schools are getting about 40 days of additional learning a year in math, and 28 additional days of learning a year in reading.
The study also notes the shortcomings of charters.
"Despite the overall positive learning impacts, there are urban communities in which the majority of the charter schools lag behind the learning gains of their [traditional public school] counterparts," the study notes, "some to distressingly large degrees."
Certain groups of students didn't see any benefit from going to a charter school; every subgroup in the study showed improvement in charter schools except for the "negative impact on math and reading growth experienced by white students enrolled in urban charter schools and for Native American students in math."
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