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NV, TX, OH, UT, NM, AZ, PA, OR, FL, and AR should be Ashamed of Charter School Achievement!

The Texas Insider recently reported the following about the Stanford CREDO charter school study:

The results reveal that the charter school sector is getting better on average, and that charter schools are benefiting low-income, disadvantaged & special-education students,’’ said Director Margaret Raymond of the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) language learners more than their peers in other groups, a study shows.

Overall, charter school students are faring better than they were four years ago, surpassing those in traditional public schools in reading gains and keeping pace in math, notes the Stanford University Report, which calls closing low-performing schools ‘‘the strongest tool available to ensure quality across the sector.

Maybe the Texas Insider thought that we might not click on the link to the actual study and look at the statistical results. Well, a Cloaking Inequity reader brought Table 14 in the report to my attention. This table shows how students in charters are performing overall state by state. CREDO sorted the state alphabetically, but I have sorted the states by the the amount of impact. I will begin with the reading results.

If I was a Nevadan, I would be piping hot because charter reading achievement is negative 108 days (See Table 1). Wow. In Texas, Oregon, Arkansas, Arizona and and Pennsylvania, charters have more than 20 days of negative impact on students. Ohio, Florida and and Utah are not far behind in terms of negative impact on reading. New Mexico and New York City are a push, no improvement.

Table 1. Charter Impact on Reading by State

State Reading Charter Impact Reading Days of Learning
Nevada  -0.15**  -108
Pennsylvania  -0.04**  -29
Arizona  -0.03**  -22
Arkansas  -0.03**  -22
Oregon  -0.03**  -22
Texas  -0.03**  -22
Ohio  -0.02**  -14
Florida  -0.01**  -7
Utah  -0.01 -7
New Mexico  0 0
New York City  0 0
Colorado 0.01** 7
Georgia 0.02** 14
Illinois 0.02** 14
Minnesota 0.02** 14
Missouri 0.02** 14
California 0.03** 22
North Carolina 0.03** 22
Indiana 0.05** 36
Massachusetts 0.05** 36
New York 0.05** 36
Michigan 0.06** 43
New Jersey 0.06** 43
Louisiana 0.07** 50
D.C. 0.10** 72
Rhode Island 0.12** 86
Tennessee 0.12** 86

Overall, for reading achievement, charters have a positive impact in more states on than and negative or net push (See Table 2).

Table 2. National Charter Impact on Reading Summary

Charter Impact on Reading
# States Postive 15
# States Negative 10

Let’s now turn to math achievement (See Table 3). Again, Nevada tops the list of negative impact at 130 days. Charters in both Oregon and Pennsylvania have more than 50 days of negative impact on math achievement. The list of states with more than 20 days of negative charter impact on math expands to Texas, Ohio, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Arkansas. Charters in five more states have 7 days or less of negative impact on math achievement in Georgia, California, Colorado, Minnesota, and North Carolina.

Table 3. Charter Impact on Math by State

State Math Charter Impact Math Days of Learning
Nevada  -0.19**  -137
Oregon  -0.07**  -50
Pennsylvania  -0.07**  -50
Ohio  -0.06**  -43
Utah  -0.06**  -43
Arizona  -0.04**  -29
New Mexico  -0.04**  -29
Texas  -0.04**  -29
Arkansas  -0.03**  -22
Georgia  -0.02**  -14
California  -0.01**  -7
Colorado  -0.01**  -7
Minnesota  -0.01 -7
North Carolina  -0.01**  -7
Florida  0 0
Indiana 0.02** 14
Illinois 0.03** 22
Missouri 0.03** 22
Michigan 0.06** 43
New Jersey 0.08** 58
Louisiana 0.09** 65
Massachusetts 0.09** 65
Tennessee 0.10** 72
New York 0.11** 79
New York City 0.13** 94
D.C. 0.14** 101
Rhode Island 0.15** 108

While charters have a positive impact in more states on reading achievement, for math, charters have a negative impact in more states (See Table 4).

Table 4. National Charter Impact on Math Summary

Charter Impact on Math
# States Postive 9
# States Negative 15

Clearly, the charter impact on math and reading results are a mixed bag across the 26 states included in the study. But the study’s spin— and often charter school achievement in general—  is oversold. If I was policymaker in Nevada, I would put the screws down on charters immediately. The math results for charters are also absolutely dismal in Oregon and Pennsylvania. The other states that should be ashamed of the charter movement because they make both lists for negative impact are Texas, Arizona, Ohio, Utah, New Mexico, and Arkansas. BTW… Rhode Island.. you are awesome on both lists.

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About Dr. Julian Vasquez Heilig (667 Articles)
Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State Sacramento.

3 Comments on NV, TX, OH, UT, NM, AZ, PA, OR, FL, and AR should be Ashamed of Charter School Achievement!

  1. inspireteaching001123 // February 7, 2014 at 7:28 pm // Reply

    Reblogged this on Inspire Teaching.


  2. These differences (on the order of 0.01 SDs) are ridiculously small, and the “days of school” metric that CREDO uses is problematic. The CREDO studies have limitations and weaknesses, but they’re based on a enormous dataset and they’re consistent with overall research showing charters tending to do about the same — with approx. the same distribution across the sector — as the conventional public sector and the Catholic sector. It is interesting to see charters in some states (e.g., RI) seemingly doing better than in other states (most notably, NV), and maybe something can be learned from that in terms of authorizing and governing rules. But I don’t think there’s much here for states to feel ashamed (or proud). For more about CREDO and charter research, see


4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Charter Op-Ed Misrepresents (Big Tree): My Response That They Won’t Print (Small Axe) | Cloaking Inequity
  2. 9 Billionaires Are About to Remake New York’s Public Schools—Here’s Their Story | Citizen Action of New York
  3. 9 Billionaires Are About to Remake New York’s Public Schools—Here’s Their Story | New Deal Progressives
  4. Dude, Really?: Education policy kudos and criticism (in the same week) | Cloaking Inequity

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