Advocates of charter schools should be encouraged by a recent report by the University of Indianapolis that featured some enlightening findings. Inside Indiana Business lists the highlights:
• Charter school students differ from traditional school students in critical ways: They enter charter schools at an academic disadvantage relative to their traditional school counterparts, as evidenced by their entering scores on the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP), and they are more likely to be members of minority groups and low-income households.
• Charter schools have the same attendance and stability rates as traditional schools.
• Students who had been enrolled at least two years in their charter school showed significantly greater academic growth when compared to a controlled sample of students from traditional Indiana schools that were similar in demographic characteristics and baseline academic achievement. Charter school students showed 22% more growth in reading, 18% more growth in math and 25% more growth in language usage.
• The growth in reading and language usage for charter students exceeded national growth averages. Math growth was on a par with the national average.
• Cost per unit of academic growth was lower in charter schools
The study was commissioned by Indiana Black Expo, the Indianapolis Urban League and the DeHaan Family Foundation.