Low income and minority students show stronger growth in charters than their peers at district-run schools

Press releases

April 3, 2019 – A Florida Department of Education report released in March 2019 found that students, particularly low income and minority, who attend charter schools are achieving at a higher level than students enrolled at district-run schools. In many cases, charter school students are outperforming their peers at other public schools. 

Below are some highlights from Student Achievement in Florida’s Charter Schools: A Comparison of the Performance of Charter School Students with Traditional Public School Studentswhich compared achievement, learning gains and achievement gaps across a variety of subgroups and grade levels:

  • In 93% of the comparisons of achievement and learning gains, students eligible for free/reduced lunch enrolled in a charter school performed better than students eligible for free/reduced lunch attending a district-run school.
  • In 89% of the comparisons of achievement and learning gains, African-American students enrolled in charter schools performed better than African-American students attending a district-run school.
  • In 93% of the comparisons of achievement and learning gains, Hispanic students enrolled in charter schools performed better than Hispanic students attending a district-run school.
  • In 82% of the overall comparisons, students enrolled in charter schools demonstrated higher rates of grade level performance than their peers enrolled at district-run school.

“We are encouraged by the results of the Florida study. It shows, without a doubt, that public charter schools are helping minority and low-income students make impressive academic gains,” said Lynn Norman-Teck, Executive Director, Florida Charter School Alliance.  “With continued support from parents – who overwhelmingly support school choice – and lawmakers, we need to support charter school programs that work, and ensure that every child has an opportunity to attend a school that best fits their needs and learning style.”

The results from the recent Florida report mirror the results from a 2015 CREDO study.  That study used student performance data from the 2006/07 to the 2011/12 school year to create a matched student database containing 1,018,510 charter records and a matched group of comparison from traditional public school or district-run school students. 

The CREDO Study found that:

  • Black and Hispanic students, students in poverty, English language learners, and students receiving special education services all saw stronger growth in urban charters than their matched peers in urban district-run schools.
  • When all of the urban regions are pooled together, urban charter schools on average provide significantly greater growth in math and reading than urban district-run schools with similar students.
  • Mirroring the national charter sector, disadvantaged students receive the strongest positive benefits in urban charter schools.

Created by the Florida Department of Education, Student Achievement in Florida is a statutorily mandated report that uses more than 4.2 million test scores and makes 195 comparisons of academic success between students attending charter schools and students attending district-run public schools.  To view that report in its entirety, click here. 

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