Forward Institute: Milwaukee Charter Study Shows Effects of Truancy, Poverty, and Experienced Teachers | Diane Ravitch’s blog
The Forward Institute has released a study of charter schools in Milwaukee, comparing district charters, privately managed charters, and public schools.
The findings are instructive. The 2R charter schools are the privately managed charters.
The privately managed charters are skimming, doing grievous harm to the public school system. Any educational “gains” are the result of skimming, not educational effectiveness.
Summary of most significant findings
1. School to school comparisons:
MPS/2R raw scores – We need to take into account that 2R charter schools have lower truancy and student poverty rates. When we equalize for those factors, the difference becomes insignificant. This means that the 2R Charter school type is NOT creating higher scores.
2R/MPS Charters – We need to take into account that 2R charter schools have lower truancy rates and higher rate of fully licensed teachers. When we equalize for those factors, the difference becomes insignificant. This means that the 2R Charter type is NOT creating higher scores.
MPS public/MPS Charters – We need to take into account that MPS public schools have higher disabled enrollment, teacher experience, and student poverty rates than MPS charter schools. When we equalize for these factors, we find that the difference BECOMES significant. This means that MPS public school Report Card Scores actually ARE higher than MPS charter schools.
2. The most significant factor in the Milwaukee School Report Card scores is habitual truancy (Truancy effect slope figure). We can explain almost the entire effect on Report Card scores by three significant factors – habitual truancy rate, student poverty, and the percent of teachers with at least five years of experience. It is important to underscore that “Percent of Teachers with 5 years experience” have the same POSITIVE effect with scores as student poverty has negative effect. The negative truancy effect is 3 times that of the teacher and student poverty effects.
3. The negative effect of truancy is equal across schools. No school type counters these effects through educational effectiveness.
4. The data presented in this study along with other cited research indicates a strong likelihood of student selectivity (“skimming”) by 2R charter schools. This factor creates perceived positive effects which are overstated and unrelated to school type.
5. We suggest that school and parental bias factors are theorized to have a negative effect on the students left behind by an opt-out system which functions as a new form of segregation based on prior student achievement, parental participation, and schools picking “desirable students.”
The study reached the following conclusions: