(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
Arizona did well in the 2015 NAEP- up in three of the four tests and notched our first ever above the national average score in any of the four exams. This is all good news, and the gains look more impressive if you compare them to when the economy hummed and spending per pupil was relatively high (2007) to when not so much yet (2015). Sweet are the uses of adversity if surely very difficult for educators and administrators.
I ran numbers for charter vs. non-charter and tried to get closer to apples to apples by examining the scores of general ed students who qualify for a free or reduced lunch. If your story is that the charter schools have a nefarious plot to siphon off all the rich kids from North Scottsdale (good luck btw) these are not those kids.
Some of the really big gains on the charter side here may be explained by an unusual bad showing for charter schools in 2013-and that could relate to the vagaries of NAEP sampling. Nevertheless they are way up from the good ole days of property bubble prosperity as well as from 2013 among both districts and charters- and the most important gains are the blue ones since they still educate 83% of the kids.
So that’s what you get for you “wild west” charter sector that routinely derided by overly cautious types who have no experience with coping with rapid enrollment growth- rocking academic gains for disadvantaged kids! Arizona still has far to go but…
AZ and OK have large populations of American Indians. Does NAEP look at them? If so what about low density Indian Schools and high density schools. My guess is those are numbers the government does not wish to know about. The Us Gov. has an obligation to schools in Indian Country that it is not fulfilling and thus prefers not to collect data and publicly publish much that might confirm such failure.
Transparency begins at home. It is great to have NAEP. Now if the media would factor in statistical significance in reporting, the public would know a lot more. In so much of the media Chicken Little “Wow Factor” trumps accurate transparent communication.
NAEP does provide scores by race/ethnicity but the website may be overwhelmed at the moment- it is refusing to run it for me for AZ. If you would like to slice and dice the data it is here:
The good news is that AZ American Indian scores out-gained the national average by 3 to 1 on 4th grade reading between 2003 and 2015. The bad news is that their scores are still very low overall and well below the national average for American Indiana students.
[…] Ladner, Matthew, “BOOOOM! AZ Charter Schools RAWK the 2015 NAEP,” Jay P. Greene’s Blog, website accessed December 16, 2015, https://jaypgreene.com/2015/10/28/boooom-az-charter-schools-rawk-the-2015-naep/. ↑ […]