Monday, May 30, 2005

Charter schools excel in New York City
Charter school students outscored their peers on recent reading tests - giving new ammunition to advocates pressing to open more of the experimental schools.

Fourteen of the 20 city charter schools with fourth or eighth grades posted higher scores than nearby public schools, according to an analysis by the New York Center for Charter School Excellence.

The results were particularly strong for charter school eighth-graders, who managed scores 16 percentage points above the citywide average...
[NY Daily News]
The New York Times, ever skeptical of criticism of public schools, ran its own analysis of the same numbers ... and agreed:

The analysis performed for The Times on test results for charter school students produced results that were similar to those released this week by the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence, a nonprofit group that advocates for charter schools.

A higher proportion of fourth graders scored at grade level in 11 of the 16 charter elementary schools than did fourth grade students in the surrounding public school district, the group's analysis determined, as did eighth graders in 5 of the 6 charter middle schools.

Among the reasons for the strong performance of charter school students are the schools' flexibility on scheduling and instruction, their ability to hire and fire staff based on performance "and a relentless focus on student outcomes," said Kristen Kane, chief executive of the office of new schools in the city's Education Department.

The reading tests' results for both the fourth and eighth grades indicate "that having charter schools as an additional option for children and families is really valuable," Ms. Kane said. "The results we're seeing so far are indicating that this option is a very powerful one"....