New Ammo For Charter Debate
The New York City Charter Schools Center is releasing Tuesday a new study showing that students who attend the city's charter schools do significantly better than similar students not picked in the annual random lotteries for charter school places.
This kind of randomized study, often called the gold standard for educational research, is designed to test if students subjected to a new approach--in this case, independent public charter schools--outperform students just like them who do not get the same treatment.
Charter school critics have argued that students in those schools have unusually motivated parents who take advantage of the charter school option, and it is the parents' personal qualities that cause those students' academic success. But if, as this study suggests, children of those motivated parents who actually attend charters do better than children of similarly motivated parents denied charter school places by chance, then charters must have a beneficial effect.
This study, "How New York City's Charter Schools Affect Achievement," is certain to be closely examined and criticized, since charter school research has become a very argumentative academic pursuit. The lead researcher on this study, Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby, is one of the most energetic and prolific researchers in the field. Her results have tended to support the pro-charter school side, so get ready for the other side to start finding flaws in the details of what is a very complex research project affecting 43 New York charters. . .
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