May
3rd 2013
State Report Shows Colorado Public Charter Schools Outpacing Their Peers

Posted under Innovation and Reform & learning & Public Charter Schools & Research & State Board of Education & Teachers

Having been long-winded the past couple days, I will keep this Friday posting short. But in case you missed it, please check out this week’s K-12 radio podcast interview, as Colorado League of Charter Schools president Jim Griffin breaks down the Colorado Department of Education (CDE)’s latest report on the state of charter schools.

The report highlights four trends:

  1. “Charter schools continue to serve larger numbers of students and offer a wide range of options.”
  2. “Charter schools currently serve a population more similar to state averages than in years past, but still lag behind in numbers of special education students enrolled.”
  3. “Teachers and administrators in charter schools earn less than peers in non-charter settings.”
  4. “In 2012, charter schools in Colorado generally outperformed non-charter schools on state performance measures.”

Put together #2 and #4, and what do you have? Growing evidence that the public charter sector is driving some small improvements for student learning. (Dig into the pages for more relevant details.) Please note that not all charters better than non-charters. Each sector has its lot of good and bad actors. But struggling charters can be closed down or corrected in ways their counterparts cannot.

After 20 years of Colorado’s charter school law, we’re seeing more signs of success. But there’s nothing magical about the hard work and innovation that create better results in the aggregate for charters. Just that they have the freedom and flexibility to pursue that opportunity more effectively. And for significantly less funding per pupil, which affects what charters can pay their instructional staff (see #3).

Sure, the CDE report isn’t as indicative or overwhelming as the recent study on KIPP schools proved to be. Nor should anyone be close to resting on their laurels. But the trend line is clear and distinct, and tells us that charters can and should play a major role in helping to lead Colorado toward educational excellence.

I’ve already gone long on this beautiful Friday. If you want to learn more, you’ll have to listen to the podcast discussion.

3 Comments »

3 Responses to “State Report Shows Colorado Public Charter Schools Outpacing Their Peers”

  1. Russ on 07 May 2013 at 11:57 am #

    Outpacing their peers? You mean Charter schools in other states?
    Outpacing in what? In my review of the CDE report, I see many areas where non-charter schools are on top, and I see many areas where they are even. I do see areas where charter schools are on top, but not necessarily ‘outpacing’.
    I did find interesting the metric on “Postsecondary and Workforce
    Readiness” where non-charter schools are better (by almost 10%) preparing our children for the working world.
    That’s a long report, well prepared from volumes of data.
    I don’t see a clear trend line here. I see charter schools doing OK compared to non-charter schools.

  2. Ben on 08 May 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Since you read the report, I’m sure you’re aware of the results I’m referring to (but for the readers’ edification) re Colorado charters vs. non-charters: higher reading achievement on 7 of 8 grade levels; higher reading growth on 6 of 8 grade levels; higher math achievement on 6 of 8 grade levels; higher math growth on 4 of 8 grade levels; higher writing achievement on 6 of 8 grade levels; higher writing growth on 5 of 7 grade levels.

    On the 2010 CDE report, charters and non-charters were even on these measures. Three years later you have what we see above. Hence, “outpacing” and the following paragraph: “Sure, the CDE report isn’t as indicative or overwhelming as the recent study on KIPP schools proved to be. Nor should anyone be close to resting on their laurels. But the trend line is clear and distinct, and tells us that charters can and should play a major role in helping to lead Colorado toward educational excellence.”

    Not earth-shattering, but it is something positive to take note of.

  3. Ed is Watching » Charter Schools Continue to Grow; We Need More #SchoolChoice Now on 31 Jan 2014 at 10:11 am #

    [...] Charter schools as a whole server higher shares of low-income, minority, English Language Learner, and special needs student populations than other public schools — a trend similar but even more pronounced than here in Colorado [...]

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