SOURCE: California Charter Schools Association

August 22, 2006 16:43 ET

Report: California's Charter Schools Demonstrating Academic Success

Summary of 12 Commissioned Studies Shows CA's Charter Schools Effectively Improve Student Achievement

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 22, 2006 -- A report released today by the California Charter Schools Association, which summarizes every major study commissioned on California's charter schools over the past five years, shows that California's charter schools are effective at improving student achievement compared to their non-charter school counterparts.

The 12 major studies cited in the California report, all of which derive positive conclusions about charter school performance, were commissioned separately by a variety of institutions that include respected California think tanks, policy institutions, government agencies, universities and even organizations that advocate for and against the expansion of charter schools. A full copy of today's report can be downloaded here:

Entitled, "A Summary of the Current Research on California's Effectiveness at Improving Student Achievement," the California report was released in light of old, limited data made available today by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which draws questionable conclusions about charters' performance nationwide.

Self-admittedly, the NCES uses raw, national data collected in 2003 that includes limited statistics and flawed poverty indicators that NCES itself has said, " a rather poor proxy for poverty, but it is all that is available." NCES makes it very clear that theirs is an imperfect measurement for comparison.

The three-year-old data by NCES measures fourth-grade math and reading scores at only 150 charter public schools and 6,764 traditional public schools, nationwide. The NCES report itself cautions that "...the conclusions presented pertain to national estimates. Results based on a census of public schools in a particular jurisdiction may differ."

The 12 separate California-based studies, on the other hand, are a superior measurement of charter performance since they offer closer, state-level views of charters' comparative performance to non-charters. This includes some studies that even make school- and district-level comparisons between charters and non-charters.

Additionally, the 12 studies, cited in the California report released today, describe charter schools as "effective," "a reform initiative worth continuing in California," "a viable reform strategy," "cost-effective," "the gains in charter schools outpace their traditional counterparts..." and "...charter schools are doing a better job of improving the academic performance of California's most at-risk students..."

The California studies have also found that charter schools not only have a positive impact on the California public education system, but in many cases, are serving a greater share of at-risk students; many of whom are minority, low-income or in danger of dropping out of school altogether.

With well over 600 charter public schools serving more than 200,000 students as of this fall, California's charter schools are serving close to one in every five students enrolled in a charter school nationwide.

About the California Charter Schools Association

The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving the more than 600 charter public schools in the state of California. Our mission is to increase student achievement by supporting and expanding California's quality charter public school movement.

Contact Information

    Gary Larson
    Vice President of Communications
    California Charter Schools Association
    (415) 722-0127

    Sonia Torres
    Media Relations Manager
    California Charter Schools Association
    (213) 618-3801