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The 21st Century Charter Schools Initiative

The 21st Century Charter Schools Initiative

schools a major part of

schools a major part of his No Child Left Behind Act. Despite these endorsements, a recent report by the AFT, has shown charter schools not faring as well as public schools on state administered standardized testing, though the report has been heavily criticized by conservatives like William G. Howell of the Brookings Institute. Other charter school opponents have examined the competing claims and suggest that most students in charter schools perform the same or worse than their traditional public school counterparts on standardized tests. Both charter school proponents and critics admit that individual schools of public choice have the potential to develop into successful or unsuccessful models. In a May 2009 policy report issued by Education Sector, "Food for Thought: Building a High-Quality School Choice Market", author Erin Dillon argues that market forces alone will not provide the necessary supply and demand for excellent public schools, especially in low-income, urban neighborhoods that often witness low student achievement. According to Dillon, "In order to pressure all public schools to improve and to raise student achievement overall, school choice reforms need to not just increase the supply of any schools. They need to increase the supply of good schools, and parents who know how to find them." Drawing lessons from successful food and banking enterprises located in poor, inner-city neighborhoods, the report recommends that policymakers enhance the charter school market by providing more information to consumers, forging community partnerships, allowing for more flexible school financing, and mapping the quality of the education market. Page 20 of 43

Nationwide Studies Multiple researchers and organizations have examined educational outcomes for students who attend charter schools. Center for Research on Education Outcomes The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University studies charter schools and has completed two national reports for 2009 and 2013. The report is the first detailed national assessment of charter schools. The report now analyzes the impact of charter schools in 26 states and finds a steady improvement in charter school quality since 2009. The authors state, "On average, students attending charter schools have eight additional days of learning in reading and the same days of learning in math per year compared to their peers in traditional public schools." Charter schools also have varying impacts on different demographic groups. Black students in charters get an extra 7 days of learning in reading. :32 For low-income charter school students the advantage is 14 days of extra learning in reading and 22 days in math. : English Language Learner students in charter schools see a 43 day learning advantage over traditional public school students in reading and an extra 36 days advantage in math. : The authors of the report consider this a "sobering" finding about the quality of charter schools in the U.S. Charter schools showed a significantly greater variation in quality between states and within states. For example, Arizona charter school students had a 29 day disadvantage in math compared to public school students but charter school students in D.C. had a 105 day advantage over their peers in public schools. While the obvious solution to the widely varying quality of charter schools would be to close those that perform below the level of public schools, this is hard to accomplish in practice as even a poor school has its supporters. Criticism and Debate Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby criticized the study, resulting in a written debate with the authors. She originally argued the study "contains a serious statistical mistake that causes a negative bias in its estimate of how charter schools affect achievement," but after CREDO countered the remarks, saying Hoxby's "memo is riddled with serious errors" Hoxby revised her original criticism. The debate ended with a written "Finale" by CREDO that rebuts both Hoxby's original and revised criticism. Page 21 of 43

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