Florida’s charter schools lag behind their public schools

From Scathing Purple Musings, by Bob Sykes
Orlando Sentinel reporter Leslie Postal has skimmed through the much ballyhooed Stanford CREDO Institute and found that Florida’s charter schools aren’t measuring up to public schools.
The average charter school student in Florida loses the equivalent of seven days of learning in reading compared to the average student in traditional public schools, according to an updated national charter school study by researchers at Stanford University. Charter school and traditional school students are on par in math………But the study noted that charter school students have “markedly different learning gains” across the 27 states included in the study, even with demographic differences were taken into account……In 11 states, such as Louisiana and Tennessee, charter students gained more in both reading and math than counterparts in traditional schools. But Florida was not among those, with its charter students lagging in reading and doing no better in math. The study noted, however, that differences in states’ overall academic achievement would influence whether the differences in days of learning made an actual difference to particular children.
This is at odds with what the Florida Department of Education concluded this past March:
According to data collected by the Florida Department of Education, charter schools in the state are outperforming their traditional public school peers. The report – titled Student Achievement in Florida’s Charter Schools: A Comparisons of the Performance of Charter School Students with Traditional Public School Students — found that of the 63 metrics measured by state exams, charter students outdid their public school classmates on 55. Moreover, charter schools have managed to narrow both racial and income gap between their students, something that the state’s education system has been struggling with. The report was put together based on scores from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests and Algebra End-of-Course Exams from the 2011-2012 academic.
The Bush foundation was doing the same thing. It’s top policy analyst Matt Ladner Tweeted that “Florida charter school students outperforming district school peers.” Mike Thomas even complained that the report wasn’t getting enough play.  No wonder the Bush foundation has been silent on the CREDO.
How does the taxpayer-funded FLDOE come up with conclusions  so at-odds with such a widely respected study like CREDO? What difference was there in the data? Perhaps the FLDOE study was conveniently released one month before the legislative session. See my post here. Lobbyists for Florida’s charter schools couldn’t tout the study enough while testifying on behalf of legislation which benefitted their clients.
Stay tuned for the spin.

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