Home > Uncategorized > Stanford Report Finds that Privatized Charters Do Worse Than ANY Type of School.. Why Isn’t THIS a Big Story?

Stanford Report Finds that Privatized Charters Do Worse Than ANY Type of School.. Why Isn’t THIS a Big Story?

Earlier this week, both Diane Ravitch and the Atlantic magazine reported on the release of a report from Stanford University that studied the effectiveness of various kinds of charter schools, and the results show that so-called “government schools” with their “regulations that strangle innovation” do far better than privatized de-regulated charter schools. Here’s the understated finding from the of the Executive Summary of the report on “For Profit” charter school results:

Results also vary by the for-profit/non-profit status of the charter organization. Charter schools which are non- profit have an average effect size of 0.02, equivalent to an additional 11 days, in both math and reading. Charter school students attending a school run by a for-profit company have math growth which is 0.02 weaker than their VCRs and reading growth which is not significantly different from the VCRs. The difference in growth between for- profit and non-profit charter schools is equivalent to 23 additional days of learning in math for students attending a non-profit charter school and 6 days additional learning in reading for non-profit charter students.

And later in the report, the for-profit charters (or Vendor Operated Schools— VOS) are singled out for the mediocre performance:

…Schools that contract with external vendors for much or all of the school operations post lower results than network operators that maintain direct control over their operations.

…For-profit operators have results that are at best equal to the comparison traditional public school students (reading) or worse (math).

I have grave misgivings about the expansion of charter schools, mainly because as they function today they primarily draw from a pool of engaged parents who have the wherewithal to complete applications for their children that are time consuming and require an understanding of process that many parents might find daunting. Drawing from this pool of parents, it is not surprising to find that charters in general do better than their so called “local market”, a term that implies that schools should be engaged in a completion with each other for students. And when a for-profit entity draws from this group of select parents and does the same or worse, there is only one group who benefits: the shareholders of the for profit enterprise. That is NOT what our economy or our country wants from its public schools.

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