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Response to New York Times Charter Schools Article

February 12, 2013

To the Editor:

Regarding “More Lessons About Charter Schools” (Feb. 1), the conclusions of the report covered in the editorial are based on misguided methodology criticized by well-regarded researchers, at the heart of which are comparisons of school performance across states, which have uneven and varying definitions and levels of standards and proficiency, making it all but impossible to make meaningful conclusions about how one set of schools performs nationally in any core area.

When CREDO analyzes student performance in individual states, the comparison is based on similar criteria, making the conclusions more realistic, though still seriously flawed on outcomes given the methodology of comparing charter students to virtual twins. However, both the 2012 report and the 2009 findings, which are widely cited in the media and by policymakers (though hardly studied by either), are lacking a definitive measure of achievement and are therefore inconclusive and inconsistent with the evidence widely available through high quality authorizers, states with transparent data sets, and other research institutions.

Jeanne Allen
President
The Center for Education Reform