Education Letter to the Editor

On Charter Effectiveness, Analysis Already Exists

January 03, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Jonathon Christensen and Lawrence Angel make some well-worn and exaggerated points in “What NAEP Can’t Tell Us About Charter School Effectiveness” (Dec. 7, 2005), but their arguments nonetheless have some merit. Of course, these same arguments about the limitations of National Assessment of Educational Progress data with respect to charter schools are equally true for regular public schools, private schools, and for public-private school comparisons.

How curious, then, that the authors’ methodological fastidiousness extends only to NAEP charter school results—and how fortunate that the more sophisticated analysis of charter school effectiveness that Messrs. Christensen and Angel wish for already exists.

That analysis, undertaken by the National Center for Education Statistics, applies hierarchical linear modeling, or HLM, to the 2003 NAEP charter school results and was scheduled for release more than a year ago. Even allowing for a protracted review process, the administration’s repeated delay in releasing this study is inordinate. It is also troublingly reminiscent of the inordinate delay of the official release of the 2003 NAEP charter school report, whose relatively negative findings so enraged charter school zealots.

An HLM analysis overcomes most, if not all, of the limitations of the descriptive NAEP charter school results cited by critics like Messrs. Christensen and Angel. Such critics have known about the promised HLM analysis since at least the August 2004 publication of the American Federation of Teachers’ NAEP charter school report, in which this analysis was prominently mentioned, yet their voices have not joined those calling for its release.

Regardless of one’s politics and irrespective of one’s position or nonposition on charter schools, we should all support the democratic proposition that a publicly funded report belongs in the public realm.

Bella Rosenberg

Washington, D.C.

The writer was formerly an assistant to the president of the American Federation of Teachers.


Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)