School Choice & Charters Letter to the Editor

Center for Education Reform ‘Skeptical’ of Charter Study

August 05, 2013 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

While it’s gratifying to read the headline “Charters Show ‘Slow and Steady Progress,’ Multistate Study Finds” (Charters & Choice blog, edweek.org, June 25, 2013), it’s also a bit disconcerting since the study—from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, or CREDO—is anything but charter-school-performance gospel.

We at the Center for Education Reform have been advocating for nearly two decades on behalf of substantive, structural change in K-12 education. We know that, like education itself, research can be complicated. Although the article cites “slow and steady progress,” we’re also skeptical about another flawed report that makes spurious comparisons of student achievement in charter schools across state lines.

We believe all schools, including charter schools, must be held accountable. The path to accountability must start with strong charter school laws and must be laid with gold-standard research. Such research uses randomized control trials to measure progress. Students deserve nothing less, in classrooms and in research.

The CREDO report, upon which the article is based, fails to use such methods. Rather it employs statistical gymnastics to compare student achievement in charter schools across state lines while adjusting data to ensure that all students “start” at the same level.

Highly criticized by leading researchers and economists for failing the test of good research, the CREDO results do not accurately convey the results of charters or other public schools. State-by-state and community-by-community analyses are the only true measures that offer validity for parents and policymakers.

Jeanne Allen


The Center for Education Reform

Washington, D.C.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the August 07, 2013 edition of Education Week as Center for Education Reform ‘Skeptical’ of Charter Study


School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

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

School Choice & Charters Opinion The Biden Administration Is Right: Charters Need to Be More Accountable
The proposed changes to the federal Charter School Program are just common sense, write Jitu Brown and Randi Weingarten.
Jitu Brown & Randi Weingarten
3 min read
Illustration of students and teachers holding puzzle pieces.
<b>F. Sheehan/Education Week and iStock/Getty</b>
School Choice & Charters What's Behind the Fight Over the Biden Administration's Stance on Charter School Funding
Proposed new rules for federal charter school funding have drawn the ire of many in the charter school community.
8 min read
Publish Charter school parents stage a counter protest as thousands of public school teachers, administrators and supports march through the streets of Sacramento during a protest held at the California State Capitol urging state legislators to provide more funding for public schools in Sacramento, Calif., on May 22, 2019.
Publish Charter school parents stage a counter protest during a march in Sacramento, Calif., that advocated for more funding for public schools in 2019.
Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via AP
School Choice & Charters Opinion Families May Like Their School But Want More Options. That’s Where Course Choice Comes In
Educational choices have grown inside each school as a result of the pandemic. Families should take advantage of this.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters Mich. Public School Advocates Launch Effort to Stop DeVos-Backed Proposal
The former secretary of education is backing an initiative that advocates say would create an unconstitutional voucher system.
Samuel J. Robinson, mlive.com
4 min read
Student with backpack.