CREDO Report Validates Charter School Philosophy
Report shows charter schools often perform better than traditional public schools.
A recent report from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes paints a positive picture of New Jersey’s charter schools, indicating that its students learn more, on average, than their public school counterparts.
Of course it’s good news, Red Bank Charter School Principal Meredith Pennotti said, but it’s not entirely unexpected either.
“We have come up with a combination of practice, school culture, and community involvement that leads to high student achievement,” Pennotti said when asked about Stanford University’s CREDO report. “I think we are meeting the mission. We set out to validate the idea that all children can learn and we’re doing that every day.”
According to the CREDO report, the findings of the study show that a typical New Jersey charter school student gains more learning in a year than his or her public school counterpart. The study found that charter school students showed about two months of additional gains in reading and three months in math over their public school peers.
Pennotti said charter schools have lead the way with education innovations that are now being adopted by public schools. Longer school days, formal teacher certification and student codes of conduct and anti-bullying programs that are now being implemented in public schools have been successfully developed in charter schools for years.
“I think it’s substantial to see that some of these best practices are now being used in traditional schools,” she said.
Though many charter schools, like Red Bank’s, have succeeded at providing a high-quality education, the study revealed that not all charter schools have provided the results promised. According to the report, 30 percent of charter school students have significantly more positive learning gains than their public school counterparts, but 11 percent of charter schools have significantly lower learning gains.
State Education Commissioner Chris Cerf said the positive gains made by New Jersey’s charter schools are in part the result of the Department of Education’s stringent accountability standards and willingness to close underperforming charter schools should the need arise.
“This study also makes clear that the charter accountability and authorizing process matters – it is not simply about the quantity of the schools, it’s about the quality of schools we approve and the standards to which we hold them while they are operating,” Cerf said in a statement, noting that this year’s CREDO report is more positive than 2009’s.
“It is time we end the outdated argument about whether a school is a district school or a charter school and instead focus on whether it is a great school providing high-quality options to New Jersey students.”
To see the complete CREDO report, click here (PDF).