Friday, February 08, 2013

Detroit Charter Schools 47, Detroit Public Schools 0

A Stanford University study suggests attending Charter Schools in Detroit results in significantly better educational achievement than attending government schools. Stanford University study finds charter pupils gain an extra three months of learning
Detroit school children are learning at a rate of an extra three months in school a year when in charter public schools compared to similar counterparts in conventional Detroit Public Schools, according to the findings of a Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) study done by Stanford University on students in the Detroit area.
It isn't perfect, of course,
"While on average the Detroit charter students have higher learning gains than their traditional school counterparts, when we look at the school results, only about half of the Detroit charter schools perform significantly better than their local alternative," said Dev Davis, research manager for CREDO at Stanford University.
It isn't certain what a comparison of the Bell curves for non-Charter vs Charter schools' performance in Detroit would be from that statement, but here is a crude example which I think satisfies all the criteria Ms Davis specifies. Blue is the Detroit Public School System, green is the Detriot Charter schools.

Which curve would you prefer for your child?

Ms Davis seems to be soft pedaling the Charter story, at least for the Detroit study. I find it interesting that she does not mention a number important to this study; How many Charters are doing worse? CREDO generally does look at that:
A Credo study in 2009 of charter schools in 16 American states found almost half of the schools were no better than public schools; 17 per cent performed significantly better, while 37 per cent performed worse.
In fact, the CREDO report states that 47% of Charter schools in Detroit perform "better than their market," and "Slightly more than half of Detroit charter schools were not significantly different from their market." So none are performing worse than government schools.

That's not the end of Charter advantages, though. I am fairly certain that no weight was given to the reduction in anti-capitalist, blame America first propaganda to which students are exposed. And, while I'll agree that some Charters probably surpass even government schools in such polemics, at least the parents are choosing the slant they want. I would also contend that the improved educational outcomes are positively correlated with less time spent on social justice indoctrination and more on math and reading.

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