First-ever state ranking of charter student performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress
The National Assessment of Educational Progress has just reported steep drops in student achievement at the nation’s public schools. How will parents respond to the news? Is the downward trend in private education enrollments about to be reversed?
Before COVID-19, private school enrollments were headed downhill. Between 1964 and 2019, the percentage of students attending private schools fell from 14 percent to 9 percent of all school-age children, an all-time low.
As folk wisdom has it, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And research shows that children are generally shaped more by life at home than by studies at school. College enrollment, for instance, is better predicted by family-background characteristics than the amount of money a school district spends on a child’s education. Some parents have a specific vision for their child’s schooling that leads them to keep it entirely under their own direction.
How can we improve academic achievement and college attainment for disadvantaged students? To address this question, education researchers typically assess the impact of various interventions on all students whose family income falls under the limit for free or reduced-price school lunch—a broad category that fails to account for the effects of ethnicity and class in combination, as well as the considerable differences in economic and cultural resources among lower-income families in the United States.
Betsy DeVos must be quietly enjoying her retirement from public office. After resigning in protest against presidential actions during the closing days of the Trump Administration, she is beginning to see the fruits of her steady advocacy of school choice throughout her term in office. When she took office in 2017, public support for choice had been in the doldrums.Throughout the latter years of the Obama administration choice support drifted downward, as can be seen in the graph from EdChoice polling shown below.
President Biden wants credit for opening up the nation’s schools within 100 days of taking office. Yet over a third of U.S. students still aren’t going to a classroom every day. Many urban districts open their doors only to young children or for just two days a week, and scare talk dissuades numerous parents from sending their kids.
Nothing in the historical record has disrupted American schools quite like Covid-19. Millions of students will lose more than a year of classroom instruction. Only the most hopeful think schools will return to normalcy before next September. An entire generation can expect a drop in lifetime earnings of 5% to 10%, economists tell us. Even worse, social and emotional development have been stunted. Schools no longer provide eye and ear exams, nurse office visits, and ready access to social services. Children from low-income backgrounds are suffering the most.
In September we released an article on the Education Next website titled “Charter Schools Show Steeper Upward Trend in Student Achievement than District Schools.” Using a sample of more than four million test performances, it compares the progress made by cohorts of charter and district school students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) from 2005 to 2017. Overall, students at charters are advancing at a faster pace than those at district schools. The strides made by African-American charter students have been particularly impressive.
The number of charter schools grew rapidly for a quarter-century after the first charter opened its doors in 1992. But since 2016, the rate of increase has slowed. Is the pause related to a decline in charter effectiveness?
President Donald Trump’s poll numbers have slipped well below levels enjoyed by prior presidents during their first one hundred days. But on one issue—school choice—the president is pushing the numbers in the direction he desires. It’s time for him to push his school choice agenda.
The NAACP, at its national convention in Cincinnati, voted this July to support "a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charter schools." In Massachusetts, a local NAACP leader is campaigning against the charter-expansion referendum bill on the state ballot in November. Comparing charters to segregated schools, he shouted: "As Brown vs. the Board of Education taught us, a dual school system is inherently unequal."
The Supreme Court, in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (CTA), is now considering whether all teachers should be required to pay union determined “agency fees” for collective bargaining services, whether or not the teacher wants them. When making their case, unions would have the public believe that public school teachers stand solidly behind them.
Two major public opinion polls have just been released. First, Education Next (EdNext) released its ninth annual survey of over 4,083 respondents, which is administered by Knowledge Networks. (Along with Michael Henderson, we are responsible for the design and analysis of this survey.) Shortly thereafter, Phi Delta Kappan (PDK) released its own survey of 3,499 respondents, which is administered by Gallup.
n 2014 the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice, acting together, sent every school district a letter asking local officials to avoid racial bias when suspending or expelling students.
Earlier this week, my colleagues and I reported, as part of the 2015 Education Next survey of public opinion, that the level of support for the Common Core had slipped over the past two years from about two thirds to about half of the public. Yet opponents still number only about a third of the public, with the rest offering no opinion one way or the other.