Charter school advocates claim that they produce better results for children, but educational achievement as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) does not bear this out.
NAEP Grade 8 Reading scores for 2009 showed that students in charter schools were much more likely to score below the Basic level than students in other public schools and less likely to score at the Proficient level.
Both students who are not eligible for National School Lunch Program (a measure of poverty) – that is, students from more prosperous households – and students who are eligible because they come from low-income families do better in non-charter public schools than in charter schools.
White, non-Hispanic students do better in charter than in non-charter public schools, as measured by NAEP Grade 8 Reading scores, while Hispanic students do about the same. Black students do better in non-charter public schools and Asian students do considerably better in non-charter than in charter public schools.
The numbers paint a telling portrait. As a nation, we must commit ourselves to investing in public education – a system that serves the majority of our children.
Charter schools have proven to be a lackluster attempt at education reform. What the data tell us is that public schools continue to serve our children better than charter schools, and it makes sense to invest our taxpayer dollars in public education, where it can have the greatest impact.