Virtual School Meanderings

June 19, 2009

CREDO National Charter School Study

Okay, this news item has come across my radar screen from a number of sources.  I believe the first may have been the ASCD SmartBrief item that read:

Study questions charter-school education

ASCD SmartBrief | 06/16/2009

More than a third of charter schools “deliver learning results that are significantly worse than their student[s] would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools,” according to Stanford University research funded in part by pro-charter groups. “If this study shows anything, it shows that we’ve got a two-to-one margin of bad charters to good charters,” said lead author Margaret E. Raymond, who directs Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes. “That’s a red flag.” Education Week (premium article access compliments of EdWeek.org) (06/15) St. Petersburg Times (Fla.) (06/16) Los Angeles Times (06/15)

Then there was the Yahoo! News item that began:

Virtual Reasoning Lacks Charter School Realities
PR Newswire – Mon Jun 15, 1:49 pm ET

To: NATIONAL EDITORS

Contact: Jonathan Oglesby of Center for Education Reform, 800-521-2118, jonathan@edreform.com

New report on charter school performance misses the mark

WASHINGTON, June 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Center for Education Reform (CER) disputes findings on charter school performance released today by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes’ (CREDO), believing they used uncorrelated variables, contradictory demographics and virtual methodology. More than 16 years of charter school research and analysis from the Center for Education Reform (CER) shows that charter schools are outpacing their conventional public school peers with fewer resources and tremendous obstacles.

(read more, click here)

Then there was the blog item The New Charter School Study posted at The Quick and the Ed.

And while I have not read the report – which you can view here – in question yet (as I am still reading AP European History exams at the College Board reading), it seems that both folks who often take a more conservative approach to education policy and those who take a more liberal approach, all seem to have something bad to say about this report.

From the various sources reporting, it appears that after 15 years in operation charter schools can report that “17 percent of the charter schools outperformed their traditional public school equivalents, 46 percent were indistinguishable, and a disturbing 37 percent performed significantly worse”.

While I don’t know if there is any information that is specific to cyber charter school, I think these findings are quite interesting.  Especially coming on the heels of other reports this year that have less than stellar findings (see Selective Conclusions About Charters and Cyber Charter School Research).

Hopefully I’ll have some time to digest this report a little more once I return to Windsor/Detroit…

Update: As I am often critical of charter schools – and particularly cyber charter schools – I wanted to note this logical and laudable position.  Another item from the ASCD SmartBrief:

Charter group wants to help shut down struggling charter schools
California charter schools could soon be evaluated — and possibly closed down — under a proposal being pushed by the association that represents them after Stanford University research found wide differences in their quality. Ted Mitchell, president of the state’s education board, called it a “spectacular idea,” but one that would likely take time to implement. Los Angeles Times (6/18)

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