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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

January 14, 2010

ANOTHER HOLE IN THE CHARTER SCHOOL MYTH


 Blue equals reading proficiency level in DC public schools, Green the level in charter schools

Washington DC blogger GF Brandenburg has come up with an interesting chart showing the difference in reading test scores of DC public and charter school students. Leaving aside the issue of whether these tests are a good measure of reading skills, based on the systems own standards, as Brandenburg notes, "this data definitely disproves the wide-spread lie that public schools always do worse than charter schools, therefore we need to close down public schools and open up more charter schools."

Why do the public schools do better at the lower grades? Unclear, but one guess is that these schools emphasize rote learning (as does Arne Duncan, by the way), and the usefulness of this plummets along about junior high, at which point one should be moving from memorizing to analyzing. A shift in this approach is not dependent who runs a school, but what it's priorities are.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Social scientist said...

I don't believe anyone seriously argues that "public schools always do worse than charter schools, therefore we need to close down public schools and open up more charter schools." That would be a straw man argument.

The author of this blog post does not seem to value test scores, yet he or she is willing to use test scores to argue that traditional public schools are doing better than public charter schools.

Unfortunately, that argument is poorly constructed. The students' average test score level is not the same thing as school performance. If you want to know how well schools (adults) are doing at raising student test scores, you need to know how the same charter school kids would have scored had they attended a public school instead.

January 15, 2010 9:47 AM  

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