Shawgi Telll writes that the latest study of charter schools in Pennsylvania by CREDO, the Stanford-based research group, reports unimpressive results. 

CREDO’s overall conclusion:

The analysis shows that in a year’s time, the typical charter school student in Pennsylvania makes similar progress in reading and weaker growth in math compared to the educational gains that the students would have had in a traditional public school (TPS). Thinking of a 180-day school year as “one year of learning”, an average Pennsylvania charter student experiences weaker annual growth in math equivalent to 30 fewer days of learning. Our online charter school analysis reveals that attending an online charter school leads to substantially negative learning gains in both reading and math, which negatively affect the overall charter impact on student progress.

The report notes phenomenal growth of enrollment in  online charters, where students actually lose ground in both reading and math.

According to the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, charter school enrollment has grown dramatically since the mid-2000s, with noteworthy expansion in both urban and rural areas. In addition, Pennsylvania experienced a 75 percent increase in online charter school enrollment between 2006-2007 and 2010- 2011.2 Currently one quarter of Pennsylvania’s charter school students enroll in online charter schools. These trends motivate the current study.

Tell says:

A June 4, 2019 press release from CREDO states that: “Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found over four years of study that the typical charter school student in Pennsylvania makes similar progress in reading and weaker growth in math compared to their traditional public school peer (TPS).”

The press release does not mention what sort of selective enrollment practices are practiced in Pennsylvania’s charter schools, but it is well-known that charter schools across the nation regularly cherry-pick their students. It is also worth noting that, “Of the state’s 15 cyber charters, 10 are operating with expired charters.”2

The CREDO Pennsylvania finding is extra significant given that it comes from an organization that is unrelentingly pro-charter school and funded heavily by billionaires who have been working for years to impose privately-operated charter schools on the entire country (e.g., Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Foundation).

Go figure. Pennsylvania charter law is notoriously weak. It encourages the growth of low-performing charters. More students are enrolling in inferior online charters, where their learning is likely to be stunted.

What kind of future does the Pennsylvania Legislature envision for the State with its ongoing war against education?