Charters surpassing traditional public schools? A little bit in a recent study.


by David Safier

A new study shows a slight but measurable improvement in achievement of students in charter schools over students in traditional public schools. It comes from the same Stanford research group that did a similar study in 2009 which had more mixed results. Since I cited the original study, it makes sense I should cite this one as well.

I haven't had time to look over the study, so I'm depending on the AP story in the Star. It sounds like the difference isn't great. Charter school students had scores that were the equivalent of an extra 8 days in school in reading, and the math scores were about equal. That means that the variation in achievement from school to school, charter or traditional public, is far greater than the difference between the two types of schools. For any charter school supporters who want to shout triumphantly, "See, charters are better!" take a breath. We're still in a more-or-less-equal status, which is where we were in the 2009 study. Now it's tilted slightly in charters' favor.


  1. not too surprising, remember the conservative mantra of starve something of funding and support then watch it fail …… then criticize!

  2. The study is good news for charters nationwide but not so good for Arizona. Arizona is decisively a lower performer. This was a really well done study. But, all these studies have limitations. Appropriately, it uses growth for comparison but growth data doesn’t exist for k,1,2, which are the years in which more than half of all growth takes place. We need more analysis to determine the relative impact of the first year which is always a low growth year; the impact of hispanics who were poorly served by charter(except for ELLsnationwide. We also need to know why AZ had the lowesst match rate of any state in the nation.