"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, July 4, 2010

No Significant Impacts on Student Achievement in Math and Reading

A new research study on 36 charter middle schools in 15 states reports that "charter schools had no significant impacts on student achievement in math and reading."

The study was done for the US Department of Education by Mathmatica.

In the press release for the study, Mathmatica announced the following findings.
  • On average, charter middle schools that hold lotteries are neither more nor less successful than traditional public schools in improving student achievement in reading and math. However, these averages mask wide variation across individual charter schools in their impacts.
  • Study charter schools were more effective for lower income and lower achieving students and less effective for higher income and higher achieving students. In addition, charter schools in large urban areas had positive impacts on students’ achievement in math; those outside these large urban areas had negative impacts on achievement.
  • Study charter schools did not significantly affect most of the other outcomes examined, including attendance, student behavior, and survey-based measures of student effort in school.
  • These charter schools did positively affect levels of satisfaction with school among both students and their parents.
Phil Gleason, lead author of the report, said,
“In this study—the most comprehensive and geographically diverse using charter school lotteries to date—our findings are consistent with prior evaluations that focused on a broad range of schools. We found that the average charter school in our sample did not have positive impacts on students’ math or reading achievement. And like previous lottery-based studies that have focused on single, urban districts, we found that charter schools in large urban areas and those serving a more disadvantaged student population had positive impacts on students' achievement in math."
Will the results of this study - as well as previous studies - change the US Department of Education's push for charters? Will this "scientifically based research change Race to the Trough Top?

For more information read the Press Release, the Questions and Answers page, and the Final Report of the study.

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