IBJNews

Charter-school boosters tout findings of new study

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Charter-school advocates are touting a Stanford University study released Wednesday as support for their case to expand charters throughout the state.

The study of Indiana charter schools, completed by Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, showed 98 percent of the 42 Indiana charter schools included in the research grew students' scores on state reading tests as much or more than traditional public schools. One hundred percent of those charters showed the same or stronger growth on state math tests.

Charter boosters touted the results Wednesday at the Statehouse a few hours before a Senate committee hearing on a bill that would vastly expand the number of charters in the state. Charters are publicly funded schools with autonomy from many state rules, allowing the schools to be more innovative.

Russ Simnick, president of the Indiana Charter Schools Association, said the study “should put to bed the argument that charter schools are a failed experiment or they’re not working.”
 
“You just can’t run from the data that show that we’re doing exceptionally,” Simnick said.

Others, however, had a different take on the results.

Jonathan Plucker, director of Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation and Educational Policy, said the Stanford study showed similar results to those in a January 2009 study he helped author. That is, there is little difference in outcomes among students at charter and traditional public schools.

The Stanford study showed 43 percent of the charter schools in the study had better learning gains in reading than their traditional public school counterparts, and 26 percent had better gains in math. The study determined the differences were statistically significant, but Plucker said they still were incredibly small distinctions.

“Teaching kids is hard – it’s really hard – and we still do not have the magic wand to say, ‘Hey we’ll just open charters; that’s going to solve everything,’” Plucker said. “It’s not. Study after study has told us that.”

Stanford’s study examined ISTEP results of about 9,000 charter school students in 4th through 9th grade over four academic years, starting in 2004-2005. Those were compared with the charter students’ traditional public-school counterparts, who were paired based on grade level, gender, race and other factors.

The study also showed that students had an initial gain in learning in the first year at a charter school and a larger gain in the second year, but they showed no significant difference in the third year.

The Stanford study was commissioned by the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, which “supports policy initiatives that enable high-quality charter schools and small schools,” according to its website.

Nate Schnellenberger, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association, said other studies show less rosy results for charter schools. Specifically, he cited the results of another study by the same Stanford research center.

That 2009 report, which looked at charter school performance in 16 states, excluding Indiana, shows “wide variation in performance” among charters.

According to the report's executive summary, 17 percent of charter schools provide better educational opportunities than public schools, while 37 percent deliver worse learning results. The remainder performed roughly the same as public schools.

Schnellenberger said that strengthens his case against charter expansion, which he sees as a threat to traditional public schools’ funding.

“We need to ensure that new charter-school approvals fit within what the state can afford without diminishing resources to traditional public schools,” Schnellenberger said.  “We’re not doing things we know would help.”

But Simnick said the contrast between the national and statewide results in the Stanford studies merely strengthens the validity of the Indiana study.

“Not only are we doing well,” Simnick said, “but we’re doing well in comparison with the country.”

Members of the Senate’s Education and Career Development committee will hear those arguments Wednesday afternoon. The charter-expansion bill already has passed the House with mostly Republican support.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • This is Not Research
    The so-called â??expertâ?? doing this research works for the Walton Family of Wal-mart and the Hoover Institute, two of oligarchy deceivers behind the charter school scams.
  • private school
    So the results at private schools have been studied by Stanford(a private school). Hmmm
  • Flike
    Well of course they improved. 21 out of 25 were in the failing status and were in the last in every category. So yea when you are always looking up, then you will show inprovements because know one is below you.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am a Lyft driver who is a licensed CDL professional driver. ALL Lyft drivers take pride in providing quality service to the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and we take the safety of our passengers and the public seriously.(passengers are required to put seat belts on when they get in our cars) We do go through background checks, driving records are checked as are the personal cars we drive, (these are OUR private cars we use) Unlike taxi cabs and their drivers Lyft (and yes Uber) provide passengers with a clean car inside and out, a friendly and courteous driver, and who is dressed appropriately and is groomed appropriately. I go so far as to offer mints, candy and/or small bottle of water to the my customers. It's a mutual respect between driver and passenger. With Best Regards

  2. to be the big fish in the little pond of IRL midwest racin' when yer up against Racin' Gardner

  3. In the first sentance "As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss are build quality & price." need a way to edit

  4. As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss is build quality & price. First none of these places is worth $1100 for a one bedroom. Downtown Carmel or Keystone at the Crossing in Indy. It doesn't matter. All require you to get in your car to get just about anywhere you need to go. I'm in one of the Carmel apartments now where after just 2.5 short years one of the kitchen cabinet doors is crooked and lawn and property maintenance seems to be lacking my old Indianapolis apartment which cost $300 less. This is one of the new star apartments. As they keep building throughout the area "deals" will start popping up creating shoppers. If your property is falling apart after year 3 what will it look like after year 5 or 10??? Why would one stay here if they could move to a new Broad Ripple in 2 to 3 years or another part of the Far Northside?? The complexes aren't going to let the "poor" move in without local permission so that's not that problem, but it the occupancy rate drops suddenly because the "Young" people moved back to Indy then look out.

  5. Why are you so concerned about Ace hardware? I don't understand why anyone goes there! Every time ive gone in the past, they don't have what I need and I end up going to the big box stores. I understand the service aspect and that they try to be helpful but if they are going to survive I think they might need to carry more specialty parts.

ADVERTISEMENT