As President Obama pushes for more charter schools, the education world craves a report card on an experiment nearly two decades old. How are these independent public schools doing? The safest and perhaps most accurate reply — it depends — leaves many unsatisfied.
This year, two major studies offer contradictory conclusions on a movement that now counts more than 5,000 charter schools nationwide, including dozens in the District and Maryland and a handful in Virginia.
Margaret Raymond, director of Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, reported in June that most charter schools deliver academic results that are worse or no better than student accomplishments in regular public schools. She relied on test data from 15 states (not including Maryland or Virginia) and the District.
Caroline M. Hoxby, a Stanford economist, reported in September that charter school students are making much more progress than peers who sought entry to those schools by lottery but were turned down. She drew on test data from New York City.