Wild West and Loving It

NACSA you’ve got some ‘splaining to do!

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

The chart below plots the 2015 8th NAEP grade math scores against the 2011 to 2015 NAEP math cohort gains. The below charts include state averages and the numbers for state charter school sectors in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico and Utah. In the NACSA ratings of state charter school laws most proximate to these data, I recall all of these states with the exception of New Mexico received single digit scores out of a possible 30 something points, clustering towards the bottom of the rankings. New Mexico still ranked pretty low. Generally these states lost points for not having default closure and similar type provisions. How did the charter schools in these state manage?

The high performance/low NACSA phenomenon looks to be a western trend. These charts are not stone tablets handed down from the mountain, but I can’t think of any reason they would systematically favor charter sectors. Those “Wild West” charter sectors look, ah, really good at math. If you recall the international comparisons, Massachusetts ranks up there near the best European and Asian countries. Let’s take a look at the reading results:

Well there you have it- AZ, CO, ID and CO all have Massachusetts like results, and it appears that when it comes to spurring reading gains, New Mexico charters are the ultimate power in the universe…I suggest Enchantment State parents use it.

Please do me a favor and email this post to the next five people you hear use the term “Wild West” as a term of derision in an education conversation. Bless their little hearts, but they generally have not bothered to look at empirical data in order to see whether it can be squared with their regional/ideological prejudices.

 

 

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8 Responses to Wild West and Loving It

  1. Greg Forster says:

    Actually, the power-centralizing educrats are the Admiral Motti of this scenario. Parents are the General Tagge.

  2. matthewladner says:

    I find my lack of knowledge regarding the names of these minor characters…disturbing. Your schwartz must be even bigger than mine!

  3. How explain John Merrow’s recent comments on the DC public schools (the Wild Non-West) in the Washington Monthly? These numbers include charters, one assumes.

    “From 2007 to 2015, the NAEP reading scores of low-income eighth graders increased just 1 point, from 232 to 233, while scores of non-low-income students (called “others” in NAEP-speak) climbed 31 points, from 250 to 281. Over that same time period, the percentage of low-income students scoring at the “proficient” level remained at an embarrassingly low 8 percent, while proficiency among “others” climbed from 22 percent to 53 percent.”

  4. http://www.businessinsider.com/homeschooing-more-popular-than-ever-2017-1. Can we have college-level stats on homeschooling vs charter schooled kids in Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, etc.?

  5. http://www.businessinsider.com/homeschooing-more-popular-than-ever-2017-1 Can we have college-level stats on homeschooled vs charter schooled kids in Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, etc.?

  6. pdexiii says:

    “Bless their little hearts, but they generally have not bothered to look at empirical data in order to see whether it can be squared with their regional/ideological prejudices.”

    These people have gotten away with not using data to support their arguments since middle school. Well, the wouldn’t have gotten away with it in my 8th grade class (and that fits anyone under the age of 35) but that sums up the state of math education in the US, except the ‘wild west’ states in these charts.

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