Charter Schools Grade Highest”

Boston Globe; January 6, 2009

A new study indi­cates that Boston char­ter schools sig­nif­i­cant­ly out­per­form the city’s tra­di­tion­al schools, but rais­es new ques­tions about the city’s exper­i­men­tal pilot schools, which in many cas­es post­ed “ambigu­ous” or “dis­con­cert­ing” results.  The study, being released today at a Boston Foundation forum, exam­ined state stan­dard­ized test scores for stu­dents of sim­i­lar back­grounds at the three kinds of schools over a four-year peri­od. In the most stark exam­ple, char­ters - inde­pen­dent pub­lic schools ded­i­cat­ed to inno­v­a­tive teach­ing - excelled sig­nif­i­cant­ly in mid­dle school math. However, pilots, which have sim­i­lar goals but are run by the School Department, per­formed at slight­ly low­er rates than tra­di­tion­al schools, accord­ing to the study.  The find­ings could present a set­back for Governor Deval Patrick’s edu­ca­tion over­haul, which seeks to emu­late pilot schools around the state while resist­ing calls for more char­ter schools.  The diver­gent per­for­mance among char­ter and pilot school stu­dents sur­prised state and local edu­ca­tion lead­ers because the schools share a sim­i­lar his­to­ry and philosophy.”


By James Vaznis