Category Archives: Academic Achievement

Basis Charter School Network Tops US News Best High School Rankings

The Arizona centered BASIS charter school network sweeps the top five national high school rankings in the US News & Reports Annual Ranking. BASIS charter schools have no admission requirements and openly accepts students based on a random lottery system due to the high demand for the public charter school.

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Post Katrina: Autonomous Charter Schools Prove Successful

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, instituting school choice in New Orleans has helped enliven and rebuild education and has reinforced proof of the effectiveness of charter school management. A new study provides an analytical breakdown of post-Katrina education reform and presents insight into the positive effects of school choice in a new light.

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NAEP Scores Confirm Colorado Charter Schools are Exceptional

Once again, Colorado’s charter public schools have ranked in the top of their class and continue to set the precedent for what school choice can achieve.

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Boston Study Proves Success of Charter Schools

This study is a thorough proof of the success of charter schools when compared to traditional public schools and pilot schools, and has greatly impacted the charter school market in Boston.

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Lessons from Outcomes in School Choice Research

There are often articles that eulogize or denounce the entire concept of school choice purely on the basis that a subset of charter schools or voucher students have increased, stagnated, or declined test scores. Of course, test scores have a viable purpose in predicting educational success–primarily as an easily obtained comparison standard–but they don’t account for the entire picture.

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Florida Charter Schools do More with Less

Boy, would I like to visit Florida. Walt Disney World, Legoland, and a flourishing assortment of innovative charter schools–what’s there that a five-year old wouldn’t love? OK, to be honest I’m more excited by the theme parks than the schools, but the growth and success of Florida’s charter schools is like Splash Mountain to my policy nerd friends over at the Independence Institute. One of the most recent testaments to the success of charter schools in Florida is the Florida Department of Education’s (FLDOE) Student Achievements in Florida’s Charter Schools report. FLDOE’s report uses 4.2 million test scores from the 2015-2016 school year to compare charter school students to traditional public-school students “in terms of grade level achievement, learning gains, and achievement gap.” In 84% of the comparisons, students in charter schools had higher grade level performances, and in 85% of comparisons the average learning gains for charter school students were higher. Florida’s charter schools are thriving; it’s no wonder their enrollment has almost tripled in the last ten years. And no, the results of this report were not fueled by charter schools filled with preppy white suburban kids. The number of charter school minority students in this study exceeded […]

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PARCC Rides Off Into the Sunset… On a Circular Track

It’s no secret that people don’t love Pearson’s PARCC tests. Even way back in 2015, states were practically tripping on themselves trying to get away from the unpopular test, which was originally designed to provide comparable results across state lines. That trend has continued, and only a handful of the original dozens of PARCC states remain. Now, it looks like Colorado is jumping ship. It’s about time. But are we really leaving PARCC behind? Or are we just witnessing a rebranding effort? Colorado’s experience with PARCC has not been overly pleasant. For starters, and although there have been some improvements on this front, results have been slow to roll in despite promises from test-making giant Pearson Education that their technology would make those results available faster. It’s hard to do much with test scores that come in after the new school year is already in full swing. That makes it very tough to create buy-in on the part of educators, parents, or even education observers. PARCC has similarly failed to convince students and parents of its value, and opt-out numbers have soared. Those opt outs are a serious problem for a number of reasons. First, they signal that the state […]

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Say Bye Bye to High School PARCC Exams

It’s been a while since we talked about PARCC. Truthfully, there hasn’t been much to talk about. The test remains enormously unpopular—a fact that breeds high opt-out rates; limits student, educator, and parent buy-in; and fosters instability in our ability to measure schools’ performance and provide good information to parents looking to choose schools for their children. Now, thanks to a new bill at the legislature, PARCC will very likely be leaving Colorado high schools for good. It’s hard to talk about PARCC-era testing without talking about opt outs. That subject can get complicated quickly. There’s a lot more going on with the formal “opt-out movement” than meets the eye, a lot of which is pretty concerning. But a good deal of the fuel for that particular fire comes from opposition to PARCC. Don’t believe me? Consider this (from a previous post on the issue): I still believe PARCC—not the idea of standardizing testing itself—is a big part of the problem here. Americans overwhelmingly still support the idea of regular standardized testing, and this level of anti-testing angst didn’t exist back in the TCAP era. Don’t believe me? Check out the CDE graph from the last ESSA Hub Committee meeting below. […]

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New Rankings Should Lead to New, Better Conversations

While Education Week’s annual Quality Counts report is just one of many K-12 state rankings out there, it tends to get a lot of attention because it’s more accessible and easier to interpret that data directly from, say, the U.S. Census Bureau or the National Center for Education Statistics. The latest edition of that report was just released, which means we’re about to see a bevy of questionably accurate news articles, accusations, and assertions crop up in the near future. In the meantime, we can talk a little about the latest results and what they may or may not tell us. Some of you may remember that the Education Policy Center spent some time talking about Education Week’s 2016 Quality Counts report in a recent paper on Colorado school finance. Here’s a refresher on last year’s report: Published annually by Education Week, this report ranks states on “chance for success,” academic achievement, and school finance, with ratings in each of these categories consisting of both an overall grade and a number of more granular rankings. The 2016 report, which relied upon 2013 data, ranked Colorado 37th overall in the area of school finance. As some interest groups have reported, the […]

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