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New CREDO Study Fails Test of Sound Research

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According to Jeanne Allen, President of Washington, DC-based Center for Education Reform, “No matter how well intentioned, CREDO report is not charter school performance gospel.”

CER Press Release
Washington, DC
June 25, 2013

The Center for Education Reform (CER), the nation’s leading advocate for substantive and structural change to K-12 education, today criticized a new study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), taking issue with flawed CREDO findings that purport to show the performance of charter schools in the United States.

The new CREDO report, an update of one previously issued in June 2009, is again extremely weak in its methodology and alarming in its conclusions, according to Jeanne Allen, founder and president, CER.

“No matter how well-intentioned, the CREDO research is not charter school performance gospel, said Allen.  “Similar to its failed 2009 effort, this CREDO study is based on stacking mounds of state education department data into an analytical process that is decidedly lacking in rigor.”

Added Allen: “The extrapolation of state-by-state data is a worthy exercise, but hardly the foundation upon which to set forth sweeping national solutions, when there is no consensus on the problems.”

Allen, a leader in the education reform movement for nearly two decades, explained that CREDO’s misguided attempt to make comparisons of student success across state lines ignores the reality behind the widely varying state assessments that make such alignment impossible.

Joining Allen in voicing criticisms of the CREDO report was David Hardy, CEO, Boys Latin of Philadelphia.

“As someone who has seen firsthand the power of charter schools to transform student lives, I crave credible studies of school performance,” said Hardy of Boys Latin.  “It is simply not credible of CREDO though to claim it is primarily the closure of certain low-performing schools that leads to better academic metrics for the entire charter school sector.  School closure is a tool that should always be available, but it is not a long-term strategy for serving students.”

According to Allen of CER, as lacking as CREDO’s research is, its policy prescriptions are even more troubling.  For instance, CREDO’s plan to address what it concludes is uneven student achievement in charters is lacking in any experience in how state policies are written and how they impact actual schools and students.

“At the Center for Education Reform, we follow a simple premise: all schools, including charter schools, must be held accountable,” said Allen.  “The path to accountability must start with strong charter school laws, with multiple and independent charter school authorizers and tools in place to hold charters to the highest academic and operational standards.”

About the Center for Education Reform: Our nation’s economic future depends on the successful creation of new, available school choices that break the mold of conventional education. Such competitive forces have continued to yield dramatic improvements in achievement among students of every income level.  The Center for Education Reform helped launch this movement in 1993, and continues to be the leading voice and advocate for lasting, substantive and structural education reform in the U.S. The Center was founded with a simple, but ambitious, guiding principle: to restore excellence to education by bridging the gap between policy and practice such that great ideas are put into action.  To learn more, visit

About Boys Latin of Philadelphia: Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School, a college preparatory high school, serves qualified boys of diverse backgrounds who live in the City of Philadelphia.  Boys’ Latin offers its students a rigorous contemporary/classical education that prepares them for college matriculation and sets high standards for achievement, character development, and age appropriate conduct.|The school has created a self-selected group of young men who value academic success, hard work, and the development of their intellectual, moral, social, creative, and athletic potential.  Boys’ Latin is a school where young men prepare to become leaders through challenging coursework within a supportive environment.  Our curriculum blends liberal arts, classical studies, and state-of-the-art technology as we cultivate world citizens for the twenty-first century.  To learn more, visit