AFT Analysis Uncovers Poor Charter School Results
Dismal performance buried on Bush administration Web site
The 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in math and reading shows charter schools typically underperform regular public schools-but the Bush administration has repeatedly delayed getting this information out. This is a major finding of a recent AFT report, which generated a media explosion and sharp questions not only on charter schools but also on the administraton's commitment to keeping them accountable to the public.
The AFT analysis of the NAEP charter school achievement data shows that charter school students mostly underperform and sometimes score about as well as regular public school students. Researchers at the AFT were able to unearth the NAEP charter school achievement data by using the Web-based NAEP Data Tool, a difficult, if not impossible, task for a layperson. The 2003 NAEP charter school achievement data originally were scheduled for release in January 2004.
The NAEP data show:
* Compared to students in regular public schools, charter school students had lower achievement both in grade 4 and grade 8. These differences were all statistically significant except for grade 8 reading, and translate into about a half year of schooling.
* In grades 4 and 8, the percentages of charter school students performing at or above basic and at or above proficient were lower than the percentages for regular public school students.
* Scores of students who were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, as well as the scores of students who were not, were lower in charter schools than in regular public schools both in grades 4 and 8 in both math and reading.
After numerous delays, NAEP is scheduled to officially release the data this December. In the meantime, the NAEP results (often called the "gold standard" in education data) from the charter school sample are effectively unavailable to educators, parents and public policy makers. Further, the authorities responsible for NAEP plan to accompany the charter school achievement data with an analysis that adjusts the results. Not only is such an analysis unprecedented in NAEP's history, but NAEP is also prohibited from officially reporting its results in this fashion.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: AFT Analysis Uncovers Poor Charter School Results. Contributors: Not available. Magazine title: American Teacher. Volume: 89. Issue: 2 Publication date: October 2004. Page number: 6. © American Federation of Teachers Feb 2009. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.