NJ charter schools fare better than public schools

Nov. 29, 2012, 12:35 a.m.

New Jersey’s charter schools enjoy, on average, “larger learning gains in both reading and mathematics” than their public counterparts, according to a new Stanford survey published by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO).

The analysis was the “first-ever in-depth examination of the results of charter schools in New Jersey,” and was conducted in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Education.

The report examined whether charter students outperformed their peers in public school using figures of year-on-year grade increases by students in both types of schools over a total period of five years. This gave the researchers four periods of academic growth to establish their findings.

The results were positive for charter schools, with urban charter schools in the best cases providing almost an entire extra school year of learning gains compared to their peers in public schools.

“At the school level, 30 percent of the charter schools have significantly more positive learning gains than their [public] counterparts in reading, while 11 percent of charter schools have significantly lower learning gains,” the report stated.

“In math, 40 percent of the charter schools studied outperform their [public school] peers and 13 percent perform worse,” it also said.

New Jersey Education Commissioner Chris Cerf praised the report’s findings. “[The survey] reflects the work we have undertaken – to increase our accountability standards, strengthen the rigor of our authorizing process, and, when necessary, close schools that are underperforming.”

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