(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
So I was curious as to how charter schools in Chicago compare academically to the district. I ran the NAEP numbers from the Trial Urban District Assessment for free and reduced lunch eligible general education students. This is about as close to an apples to apples comparison as you can get in the NAEP data-much smaller range in variation in family income, general education students.
Here are the results:
This is the part where edu-reactionaries will start to stare at their feet to mutter stories about how these differences must be all about the differences in motivation between parents. The random assignment studies have consistently demonstrated however that charter school students perform better on charter schools for inner city kids. The whole “motivated parents” question is irrelevant until such time that charter schools don’t have a waiting list in any case, unless of course you are willing to sacrifice the interests of children over those of adults.
The Economist recently reviewed the evidence on charter schools and concluded:
In rich countries, this generation of adults is not doing well by its children. They will have to pay off huge public-sector debts. They will be expected to foot colossal bills for their parents’ pension and health costs. They will compete for jobs with people from emerging countries, many of whom have better education systems despite their lower incomes. The least this generation can do for its children is to try its best to improve its state schools. Giving them more independence can do that at no extra cost. Let there be more of it.