(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
So out riding my bike on the canal this morning I had the idea for a new visualization for cohort NAEP gains. Here’s what it looks like:
So a bit of explanation: the shotgun blast at the lower left part of the chart are 4th grade math and reading scores for states in 2013, with Arizona charter school students included. Arizona charter school students didn’t blow anyone away with their math and reading scores as 4th graders in 2013, but this is in the range of what many would expect from a majority minority school system operating with very modest funding.
Fast forward the clock to 2017 and those kids were 8th graders, which are the shot gun blast of dots on the upper right. Lo and behold, that majority minority student population is **ahem** outscoring states that spend more than twice as much per pupil and have the advantaged end of the achievement gap stick. Arizona charter students pulled this off despite spotting such states a head start in the form of higher 4th grade scores.
Wait…I’m picking up a disturbance in the Force. I can feel you thinking “Ok but students come and go from charter schools and this must explain some of those gains.”
Actually kids do come and go from charters, but to the extent this is happening Arizona charters are sending out kids with higher levels of academic achievement and bringing in kids with lower levels of achievement. From the Center for Student Achievement:
So if numeracy and literacy are an important part of what you are looking for in a school for your child, you might want to move to Arizona. Once here you can consider enrolling your child in one of our pluralistic charter school offerings which focus on everything from the arts to equestrianism to the classics. As far as I can tell, it’s the finest system of public education in the country, and it is available to you free of charge delightfully without a crushing level of taxation. Plus…bring your golf clubs: