(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
Regular Jayblog readers may recall the tizzy that some worked themselves into about Michigan charter schools after Betsy DeVos was nominated to serve as Secretary of Education. Oh they are horrible, terrible, no good, “Wild West” etc. Max Eden and others attempted to set the record straight, noting Credo studies and other evidence showing stronger performance for Michigan charters. Not everyone much cared to consider any of that evidence business, and rumors of horrible Michigan charter school performance linger on to this day.
Well it turns out that NAEP cohort gains reinforce the conclusions of the Credo study and two other studies finding positive charter results. Those look like respectable math gains and very strong reading gains for “the biggest school reform disaster in the country” to these eyes. NAEP cohort gains are not perfect or infallible measures, but they are pointing in the same direction as the studies. Moreover, cohort gains rank above merely looking at raw scores as measures of school quality, which is **ahem** precisely one of the mistakes that critics made.
If Michigan charters are a catastrophic failure, what are we to make of the majority of state education systems (aka the blue dots)? Maryland is getting nervous with all of this disaster talk. If Michigan charters are a reform disaster then the Maryland school system just might qualify as a non-reform post-nuclear zombie apocalypse extinction event.
If Michigan’s charter school skeptics would like to take a crack at explaining the above data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the three studies showing positive results the comment section courteously awaits your visit. Otherwise the line to offer an apology to educators running Michigan charters and the students making academic progress in them forms to the left.