Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Do Connecticut’s privately-managed charter schools outperform local public school districts? (By Robert Cotto Jr.) - Wait What?

Do Connecticut’s privately-managed charter schools outperform local public school districts? (By Robert Cotto Jr.) - Wait What?:

Do Connecticut’s privately-managed charter schools outperform local public school districts? (By Robert Cotto Jr.)

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Despite the political rhetoric coming out of ConnCAN and other charter school industry front groups, Trinity’s Robert Cotto reveals that Connecticut’s charter schools do not outperform local public schools.
 Do Connecticut’s privately-managed charter schools outperform local public school districts? (By Robert Cotto Jr.)

A few weeks ago, attorney Wendy Lecker asked me in an interview for the Stamford Advocate, “Do Connecticut charter schools outperform district schools?” My answer was, “Not exactly”.
As my Choice Watch report (Cotto & Feder, 2014) demonstrated, charter schools in Connecticut tend to serve a relatively more advantaged group of (mostly) Black and Latinx children including fewer children with disabilities, emerging bilingual children, and children eligible for free and reduced priced meals compared to the students in local public schools in the same cities as the charter schools. As a result, comparing the test results of charter schools with local public schools is like comparing “apples to oranges” because they often serve very different groups of children.
However, using a simple scatterplot chart, it is fairly easy to show that charter schools’ mean test results are not overwhelmingly better when compared with public school districts that have similarly-situated students in terms of a rough income indicator. Other scholars, such as Bruce Baker (2012) at Rutgers University, have constructed scatterplots of income vs. 7th grade math test results to demonstrate similar observations about charter and public schools.
For example, below I constructed an interactive scatterplot that compares 6th grade average scale scores on the CMT reading (2012) versus percentage of children eligible for free Do Connecticut’s privately-managed charter schools outperform local public school districts? (By Robert Cotto Jr.) - Wait What?:


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