The California Charter Schools Association recently published the results of a study conducted concerning academic achievement of African American students in both traditional public schools and charter schools. The results clearly show that black students in charter schools perform much better on California’s annual tests than do their peers in public schools.
Over the past four years,
[in] reform hubs like Los Angeles, the charter advantage was 22 points, in Sacramento 48 points, in Oakland 51 and in San Francisco 150.
According to the study,
[t]hough charters account for only 9% of California schools, they represent 39% of those in which African-American [test] scores exceed 800 and English and math proficiency exceed 65%.
These results are often challenged by the teachers’ unions by claiming that the charters “hand pick” their students, or by the claim that those in charter schools come from families with higher education levels and better economic conditions than those in public schools. Not so in California.
The African American populations in charter public and traditional public schools are very similar. Average parent education levels are the same (high school graduates to some college) and free/reduced-price lunch participation is similar (63% for charters and 67% for traditional public
schools, on average). Both are variables used to approximate students’ socioeconomic status. (See page 5 of the study)
Given this, can anyone explain the following:
‘We are concerned about the overrepresentation of charter schools in low-income and predominately minority communities,’ wrote the NAACP, the National Action Network, the National Urban League, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and others in a statement last year.
Personally, given the results of the above study, I think those groups should be more concerned about the overrepresentation of traditional public schools in those areas.