Report: Charter schools perform better on tests
Students show higher math, reading scores
July 20, 2003
By Steve Eder, Globe Correspondent
Charter school students are outscoring their nearby public school counterparts on math and reading tests, a study released last week indicated.
Nationwide, charter schools on average exceeded public school scores by 3 points on math tests and 2 points on reading exams, according to the study by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a conservative education think tank.
Jay P. Greene, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, said the study was named ''Apples to Apples: An Evaluation of Charter Schools Serving General Student Populations'' because it compared similar students in public and charter schools - an angle of study that, he said, hasn't been researched.
''Where we don't get a perfect comparison, we are getting very similar populations,'' said Greene, who coauthored the 11-state study, which took six months to complete.
But Pam Richardson, a member of the Alliance for Educational Equity, a public school parents organization, questioned the accuracy of the comparison because, she said, charter school parents are often more involved in their children's education.
''They are finding that parents who select charter schools are parents who are very involved in their child's education,'' said Richardson, a Framingham parent, referring to other studies. ''Parents who do not have the luxury of being involved are not selecting charter schools.''
Stephen J. Adams, president of the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research, a think tank based in Boston, said that much of the success of charter schools can be attributed to parent involvement. For that reason, among others, ''charter schools are just going to get better,'' he said.
©2003 Boston Globe