Selected readings on US charter schools
A new study, funded by The Boston Foundation and conducted by MIT researchers, shows that middle and charter school students in Boston are outperforming their peers in Boston public schools on the MCAS.
The Boston Foundation supports efforts to expand charter schools. It recently announced an $80,000 annual prize for outstanding Boston charter schools, funded by former Fidelity executive Robert Pozen and his wife, Elizabeth Pozen.
The findings are contained in a report called Charter School Demand and Effectiveness, a Boston Update — the third similar analysis of charter school effectiveness in Boston. The report was released at an event Thursday at the Boston Foundation. NewSchools Venture Fund, an Oakland, Calif., nonprofit that also supports charter school expansion, joined The Boston Foundation in funding the study.
The two organizations also partnered on a similar study, issued in May, also conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers. In that study, researchers noted some of the gains come from measures like longer school days and longer school years. At the time, Boston Public Schools officials said public schools have also seen improvement by instituting those measures.
The report released Thursday uses the same methodology in performance, but it evaluates the performance of charter schools versus Boston’s district schools and includes both middle and high school levels. It also explores explores the demographics of charter school applicants and those who attend charter schools, which the May report did not.
The researchers found a gain each year in the proficiency of middle school students’ on the MCAS of 12 percentage points in math and 6 percentage points in English language. In charter high schools, the gain was around 10 percentage points each year in both academic subjects.
Estimating the cumulative impact of charter school attendance, the researchers found that, by eighth grade, the middle school proficiency gap between the charter and non-charter students had risen to more than 30 points in math, and more than a dozen percentage points in English.
The research affirmed a similar report in 2009 that found charter students significantly outperformed peers who did not attend charter schools. The 2009 report also found that the longer students remain in charter schools, the greater the likelihood they will score highly on the MCAS.
Source: Boston Business Journal – by Mary Moore