Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Shape of the earth -- opinions still differ"

(The following post originally appeared in Observational Epidemiology.)

I was reminded of Paul Krugman's parody of a New York Times headline when I came to this NYT headline:

"Despite Push, Success at Charter Schools Is Mixed By TRIP GABRIEL"

Followed a few paragraphs later by the money shot:

But for all their support and cultural cachet, the majority of the 5,000 or so charter schools nationwide appear to be no better, and in many cases worse, than local public schools when measured by achievement on standardized tests, according to experts citing years of research. Last year one of the most comprehensive studies, by researchers from Stanford University, found that fewer than one-fifth of charter schools nationally offered a better education than comparable local schools, almost half offered an equivalent education and more than a third, 37 percent, were “significantly worse.”

Although “charter schools have become a rallying cry for education reformers,” the report, by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, warned, “this study reveals in unmistakable terms that, in the aggregate, charter students are not faring as well” as students in traditional schools.

As I mentioned before, there is reason to believe that this research is biased in favor of charter schools.

If you showed me test results for a new cholesterol-controlling drug in which 20% of the subjects had lower LDL levels than when they started taking the drugs, 51% stayed the same and 37% were "significantly worse," I don't think I would describe the results as 'mixed.'

But, of course, I'm not writing for the New York Times.

1 comment:

  1. As I indicated on the other blog, this is not a helpful way to view the actual findings of the CREDO study on charter schools.