Study Charter schools hit
state standards less often
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
November 23, 2004
A new study commissioned by the U.S. Department of
Education, which compares the achievement of
students in charter schools with those attending
traditional public schools in five states, has
concluded that the charter schools were less
likely to meet state performance standards.
In Colorado, for instance, the study found that
98 percent of public schools met state
performance requirements, but that 90 percent of
the charter schools did. Even when adjusted for
race and poverty, the study said, the charter
schools fell short more frequently by a
statistically significant amount.
The study added new data to a highly politicized
debate between charter school supporters,
including senior officials in the Bush
administration, and skeptics who question the
performance of the publicly financed but
privately managed schools.
Deputy Education Secretary Eugene Hickok
minimized the report's significance even as he
released the results. But academics who were
critical of charter school performance called it
an important contribution.
"In five case-study states, charter schools are
less likely to meet state performance standards
than traditional public schools," the report
says. Those states, Texas, Colorado, Illinois,
Massachusetts and North Carolina, all have made
significant public investments in charter
The report's finding appears to present a new
complication for the Bush administration as it
seeks to implement the No Child Left Behind law,
which prescribes that public schools failing to
meet achievement objectives may be converted
into charter schools.
The new study also provided new statistical data
showing that charter schools, which tend to be
located in cities, serve higher percentages of
minority youths than traditional public schools,
but fewer special-education students.
Black students made up 27 percent of charter
school students during the 1999-2000 year,
compared with 17 percent in regular public
schools, the report said.
Some 21 percent of charter students were
Hispanic, compared with 15 percent in regular
schools, it said.