Stanford University has issued a new report on the effectiveness of charter schools – this time in Pennsylvania. Their conclusion:
Compared to the educational gains the charter students would have had in their traditional public schools, the analysis shows that students in Pennsylvania charter schools on average make smaller learning gains.
The Stanford study was particularly solid methodologically, comparing charter school students with comparable peers in schools they left.
Yet as long as there is one charter school out there that performs better than the average public school, we will continue to have people swearing that schools should be run like businesses and charter schools are the answer to all that ails public education.
As for me, I want schools run by education professionals, which the Stanford researchers suggest are more likely to lead effective schools. In conclusion, they write:
Charter school authorizing is one of the policy levers that can affect the overall quality of charter school options that are available for families. A systematic, thorough and well-designed charter authorizing process increases the likelihood that an applicant’s desire to help students is matched by a sufficient level of competence and planning to actually be able to do so.