One-Two Research Combination Shows Positive Effects of NYC Charters

Chalk up another gold star for public charter schools as an education reform success. What am I talking about? The second half of a one-two research combination punch, released in late October but just reported by the smart people writing opinion for the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. [Marcus] Winters focuses on New York City public school students in grades 3 through 8. “For every one percent of a public school’s students who leave for a charter,” concludes Mr. Winters, “reading proficiency among those who remain increases by about 0.02 standard deviations, a small but not insignificant number, in view of the widely held suspicion that the impact on local public schools . . . would be negative.” It tuns out that traditional public schools respond to competition in a way that benefits their students.

Writing on Jay Greene’s blog, the venerable Greg Forster additionally notes:

…Marcus also finds that the lowest-performing students in NYC’s regular public schools benefit from charter competition; in fact, while the benefits for the overall population are statistically certain only in reading, they’re certain in both reading and math for low performers.

For those who want to dig deeper, Winters’ full Manhattan Institute study makes for interesting reading. The first half of the stunning combination showing the positive effects of New York City charter schools was the study by Stanford University’s Caroline Hoxby that found winning the charter school lottery for a poor New York City student erases most of the achievement gap in reading with their wealthier peers.

In light of that, I hope that Alan Gottlieb is correct about his sunny-side-up evaluation of the electoral shift to a less reform-friendly Denver school board. All board members should read the results of both the Hoxby study and the Winters study.

In another bid of good news, the pro-charter slate won in Douglas County . We may see some interesting innovations there — even if they are done to raise academic excellence generally and are not targeted at the distressing achievement gap.

Three great Colorado-specific charter school online resources:

Check them all out!