Report shows charters fare no better than traditional public schools

In yet another blow to "reform" advocates who claim the superiority of charter schools, a new report shows that charter schools largely mirror traditional public schools in terms of student test scores.

A recent analysis of charter schools in Michigan conducted by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University found that charter schools tend to show no meaningful impact -- positive or negative -- on student achievement.

Bizarrely, charter advocates have trumpeted the new CREDO Michigan study as a "smashing success" for charter schools. In truth, the new study estimates that students in Michigan charter schools experience 0.06 standard deviations more academic growth compared with students in traditional public schools, according to a review of the CREDO study released Tuesday by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

"This is equivalent to saying that about a tenth of one percent of the variation in academic growth is associated with school type," said Andrew Maul of the University of Colorado Boulder, who conducted the review of the CREDO study.

Such a finding of almost no difference between charters and non-charters is very much in line with the overall body of past research, Maul said.

To read Maul's full review of the CREDO report, visit www.greatlakescenter.org.